Jordan Davis is the defending NCAA Division II national javelin champion.
Davis, a junior business administration-finance major, set the record on May 28 throwing 72.54 meters at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Before the national meet, he set a new record at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship meet throwing 69.15 meters, the second-best in program history.
Davis set these records after an equally impressive performance in team competitions.
At the start of the 2022 season, Davis had a javelin throw of 70.05 meters, becoming the first Southern student to have a throw of at least 70 meters. This broke alum Omar Gonzalez’s record of 69.01 meters which he set at the 2013 national championship.
“When I broke the school record, it didn’t hit because I was so relaxed,” says Davis. “I wasn’t trying to do anything special because it was my first throw.”
Davis says it felt nice, but he didn’t think it was anything special until he saw the electronic board: 70.05 meters.
“I was like ‘what the hell’ and nobody even noticed it at first,” says Davis. “I had to get my coach’s attention. I was like ‘coach! coach! look!’ and he saw it and says ‘you’re done.’ I went to that meet in North Carolina and only threw one and that was it.”
Despite coming in second in that meet, breaking the school record was a foreshadowing of his future success.
Davis would compete at the 2022 NCAA Division II National Championship for the second straight time. While he placed ninth in 2021, this time it was different. He set a new national record.
“Breaking my one record, and winning nationals is indescribable,” says Davis. “It really didn’t hit me until a month later like ‘Wow I really just did that’ and to bring it to a school like this makes it even more special.”
After winning the championship, Davis says many people were telling him to transfer to get a better opportunity.
“Like, oh, it would be cool to go to a big school and do something there, but this is the school that took me in,” says Davis. “I’m here for a reason and I’m here to represent that name and title. I’m happy here.”
Davis says his phone was lighting up with texts after he won—family, friends, even old classmates from elementary school.
A national championship might be the brightest of the accolades Davis won in his 2022 season but that is not the only one.
In addition to a national championship, Davis has a laundry list of records and accolades from his 2022 season.
He won his second NE10 Outdoor Javelin throw championship, going back-to-back with his first NE10 championship coming in 2021.
His records are not only confined to SCSU either. According to Southern’s athletics website, Davis holds the record for the New England Outdoor Championship meet with a javelin throw of 71.83 meters and the NE10 Outdoor Conference Championship meet record with a throw of 69.15 meters.
Davis also was selected as the 2022 USTFCCCA Outdoor East Region Field Athlete of the Year.
He credits his coach, John Wallin, with his success as a thrower at Southern. Like Davis, Wallin has an extensive list of awards and accolades.
In his 12 years as a coach for SCSU track and field, he has over a dozen combined Indoor/Outdoor Coach of the Year awards and had coached multiple NE10 Rookie of the Year and Athletes of the Year in his tenure.
Wallin knew Davis was talented enough to win a championship when he traveled to the national championship last year.
“Extremely explosive and fast. I think Jordan’s mobility is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” says Wallin. “He’s very mobile and very flexible.”
Wallin also says that Davis is one of the best athletes on the track and field team.
“He can sprint like a sprinter, jump like a jumper, throw like a thrower. He can do it all,” says Wallin.
While it may come naturally now to Davis it wasn’t always this way.
Davis didn’t start doing track and field, let alone throwing javelin until he was a junior at Sheehan High School in Wallingford.
“I was always a baseball dude,” says Davis. “I pitched and played center field but going into high school I didn’t want to play baseball anymore.”
Davis left baseball to do track and field to help build strength and speed to help his football play.
However, at a track and field practice his then-head coach, Charles Farley, pushed him to be a javelin thrower.
“He says ‘oh you should try the javelin. I think you would be good at’ and I was like ‘nah, I’m not doing it.’ I really didn’t want to do it but I was kind of forced into it,” says Davis
Davis recalls picking up the javelin and throwing it. To his coach’s pleasure, he saw enough.
“He says ‘oh you’re throwing javelin from now on’ and I was like ‘oh alright.’”
Davis says that without Coach Farley pushing him, he never would’ve picked up the javelin.
“I always thought it was a different type of event, not weird, but something I never would’ve done. A lot of higher tier throwers have a dad or someone above them who brings them to javelin throwing but I had coach Farley,” says Davis.
Davis not only throws a javelin at Southern but also plays for the football team. Davis played wide receiver for his first two seasons. This past season he transitioned from the wide receiver position to running back.
“Coming in I was told I would play both wide receiver and running back. But I was born and bred to be a running back,” says Davis.
Davis is not the only running back in his family. His older brother, Zach Davis, was a stand-out running back for Sheehan. He went on to play collegiately at Fordham University.
Davis says that he is able to apply the lessons he has learned from football to his javelin throwing and that has given him an edge over his opponents.
After winning the national title he contemplated whether to solely focus on javelin throwing. These feelings dissipated over the summer as the football season was close to starting.
“I compete in track and play like a football player,” says Davis. “I think the background of football is what separates me from other people. You just don’t give up and growing up playing football you just don’t give up on your football family.”
Hearing that another student has won an NCAA Division II championship in a solo sport might make other students think that ‘this guy isn’t like us’, but that’s not the case.
Davis loves eating Chic-fil-A and playing video games with his brothers when he is not training.
“I’m simple, I get two chicken sandwiches,” says Davis.
Davis plays games like Call of Duty, Rocket League and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege with his brothers.
“I’m super close with all my brothers,” says Davis
Davis isn’t without “family” while at school. He says that the football and track and field teams have been families for him.
“I feel like we have such a close-knit family with our sports,” says Davis.
Davis highlighted his support system. He praised Coach Wallin as one of the best coaches in the Northeast, if not the country. Davis also gave props to his javelin coach, Dan Labbaddia, a former javelin thrower for SCSU, and his fellow javelin-throwing teammate Nevan Burke.
“Between the three of them I have a great support system,” says Davis.
Both Davis and Burke came to Southern at the same time and have grown alongside each other as both have developed into competitive javelin throwers.
Burke, a biology major, says a brotherhood has formed between him and Jordan since they have been teammates.
“It goes past just being teammates. I truly think when we come in and train we’ve built an actual brotherhood,” says Burke. “It’s more than just coming in and working out together. It’s being for each other on and off the field, regardless of whether it’s track-related or personal relationships or anything. We’ve created a brotherhood here.”
Burke, of Greenwich, finished third at the NE10 championship, with a personal-best throw of 58.06 meters.
Going into the 2023 season, Davis knows that there is some pressure to repeat his performance and defend his national championship title.
“I’m highly faithful that I will do better and run it back this year,” says Davis. “There’s pressure but well-handled pressure.”
By Bradley Robidoux